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PowerGen gives lessons on stupidity

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My god, PowerGen's security cock-up may be the biggest example of Net stupidity we've ever seen. If the man that discovered the gaping hole is to be believed (and there's no reason to suppose he shouldn't) he simply cut the end of Powergen's URL, hit return, and was presented with a directory of 700 customers.

Not only is this a staggeringly poor level of security but this list included the following: credit card
number, expiry date, address, phone number, email address and the amount and date of their last payment to Powergen. With this information, a credit card fraud of enormous proportions could be easily pulled off by a tramp with a mobile phone.

But it gets worse. Reg competitor Silicon.com is read by John Chamberlain and he contacted them with his side of the story. When he found the list, he contacted PowerGen immediately. They said they would sort it out but refused to contact others on the list. Concerned about card abuse, Chamberlain complained to the Data Protection Commissioner. Powergen (stupid move number 3) then denied the security breakdown had happened.

So, Silicon then took a larger list of 2,500 customers, contacted them directly and confirmed all the details on the list. It then called PowerGen, which finally admitted to the situation but then amazingly started accusing Chamberlain of being a hacker.

We wait with bated breath to find out the next stupid utterance to come out of PowerGen's gob.

What the hell is going on here? We've all got used to security/hacking stories and you would have thought companies had taken it to heart. Apparently not. Incredible. ®

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